The Toronto Islands: a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario off-shore from Toronto, originally a peninsula that was cut off from the mainland by a violent storm in 1858. It is historically sacred land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and was purchased by the British Crown via theToronto Purchase of 1787 and 1805. This purchase was later compensated after a land claim by the Mississaugas that resulted in an additional payment of $145 million by the Government of Canada.
Currently comprising 820 acres, with the largest outermost crescent-shaped island beingCentre Island, which with Olympic and Algonquin form thethree major islands. Of note, Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point are not really islands but are actually the eastern and western ends of Centre Island (who knew?!).
On a chilly but sunny Tuesday morning, seven of us gathered at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal for the short ferry ride to Centre Island. We wandered the trails of Centre, first stopping to admire the seven orange Tulpi chairs gifted to the city by Dutch royalty in 2015. Then we passed the channel across Olympic Island, the now-closed CentrevilleAmusement Park and the empty Far Enough Farm. We passed the Carousal Café (closed), crossing the main bridge and heading west. Here we passed the staged seating of the Alan Lamport Regatta Course and the Island Public and Natural Science School. We u-turned east, passing the southern beaches and onto the boardwalk,which brought us to our lunch destination. Five members fresh off the ferry joined us as we settled at a banquet table on the beautiful expanse of the enlarged gardens of theIsland Café; a fabulous lunch was had by all. On my next walk I hope to lead you all from Christie Pits through urban parks to Liberty Village.
by Rene Laukat